Blizzard announces at Gamescom that World of Warcraft will be revisting an iconic location from early on in the game's lifespan, as Patch 7.1 will be a Return to Karazhan.
One of the unique elements of MMORPGs like World of Warcraft is the way these games handle the concept of nostalgia. As expansions and patches for World of Warcraft have rendered beloved but much older content obsolete, the answer from Blizzard has been to patiently explore new stories before circling back and making original locations relevant again. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm completely shook up beginner zones and legendary vanilla-era locales, and now, ahead of the release of World of Warcraft: Legion, Blizzard has already announced a future patch that will do the same to one of the most iconic areas in the history of the Warcraft universe.
During a stream at Gamescom, Blizzard revealed "Return to Karazhan", the first major update that will occur after Legion releases. Return to Karazhan, a.k.a. Patch 7.1, will focus on Karazhan, which was one of the most popular 10-player raids in the history of World of Warcraft. The updated version of Karazhan will be a 5-player dungeon instead, but it will be larger than most of the other dungeons currently in-game and will feature 9 different bosses.
The announcement came accompanied by a trailer, as seen above, that seems to indicate that Medivh may be returning to the Warcraft story. Medivh is a major figure in World of Warcraft lore and was a prominent character in the recent Warcraft movie, which may be part of the reason Blizzard has decided to bring him to the forefront of new in-game content as well. Without spoiling too much, Medivh has been rather incapacitated for much of World of Warcraft's existence, so it will be interesting to see how Blizzard explores bringing the character back.
Blizzard has also promised that Return to Karazhan will also feature some outdoor content for people less interested in raiding, and the developer has also said that those who have been farming the older Karazhan for its rare drops need not worry, as the classic version will still be accessible after Patch 7.1.
Karazhan has been getting a lot of coverage of late, between the movie, the new content expansion for World of Warcraft, and Hearthstone's new One Night in Karazhan adventure. The way Blizzard has managed to tie-in all of these releases on different multimedia platforms speaks to the developer's incredible knack for content planning, as evidenced by the fact that Illidan's return in World of Warcraft has been in the making since the initial release of Burning Crusade almost nine years ago.
What do you think of Blizzard already announcing the next content for World of Warcraft before the Legion expansion has even released yet? Is it impressive, or just the standard other developers should be held to as well? Let us know in the comments below.
World of Warcraft: Legion releases on August 30, 2016 for PC.